Denver Nuggets’ Nikola Jokic became known as the NBA MVP

DENVER – Nikola Jokic plays for Denver. And in Serbia.

Both places could say the same thing: For the second consecutive season, it is the home of the NBA Most Valuable Player.

The League announced Wednesday night that Jokic had won a series of MVP awards. The Nuggets senior is the second consecutive world player to win two in a row, after Milwaukee Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo – of Greece – was honored in 2019 and 2020.

This is the first time that players from other countries have received the award in four consecutive years. Steve Nash of Canada returned to the Phoenix Suns in 2005 and 2006, followed by Dirk Nowitzki of Germany for Dallas Mavericks in 2007.

International players finished 1-2-3 this year. Jokic received the first 65 votes and 875 points from a group of writers and publishers. Joel Embiid of the Philadelphia 76ers was second with 26 first votes and 706 points; Antetokounmpo was third, with nine votes to one and 595 points. Devin Booker of Phoenix finished fourth.

“I don’t know what to say about Nikola right now,” Nuggets coach Michael Malone said in a statement. “He improves his game continuously, always making sure people are wrong when in doubt and is always the best player on the ground night after night.”

The 27-year-old Jokic scored 27.1 points, 13.8 rebounds and 7.9 assists for a team that lacked two senior players in Jamal Murray (ACL) and Michael Porter Jr. (back) and won 48 games. Do-it-all center named “Joker” also made the new team the first NBA player to cover 2,000 points, 1,000 rebounds and 500 assists in one season.

He is now a member of another missing club – the 13th consecutive winner of the NBA MVP. He joined Antetokounmpo, Stephen Curry, LeBron James (twice), Nash, Tim Duncan, Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Moses Malone and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (twice). Larry Bird, Wilt Chamberlain and Bill Russell each won the award for three consecutive seasons.

Jokic was also stunned when he rode the back of his horse on a two-wheeled cart to his barn in Serbia. Michael Malone was looking forward to hugging him. The same is true of Nuggets basketball president Tim Connelly.

“It was a very exciting time for me,” Jokic said in an interview on TNT. “Amazing.”

Jokic was taken over by the Nuggets with a 41st pick in the 2014 draft. His nomination that day passed under a radio video on Taco Bell commercials.

He is from far away. It is worth a supermax supplement that could guarantee him $ 254 million over five years from 2023-24.

This will all be apparent to him – in a way.

“Maybe when I’m old, fat and depressed, I hope I’ll remember and tell my kids, ‘Back then, I used to play basketball well,” Jokic said.

James also expanded his career – 19 years in the league, 19 years in a single vote in the MVP (fifth place vote). No one has won votes in most seasons or, apparently, in successive seasons than James.

Despite the poor season of the Los Angeles Lakers – they did not take part in the playoffs – James’ numbers remained one of the best in the league. The 37-year-old scored 30.3 points, 8.2 rebounds and 6.2 assists in the game, surpassing Karl Malone at No. 2 on the all-time leading scorer and could replace Abdul-Jabbar as full-time league leader at the end of next season.

James saw the sport change at the age of 19. He was part of the USA basketball team that did not win the Olympic gold – a team that went to Athens in 2004 – and he was convinced even then that the sport was growing worldwide.

Jokic is further proof of this.

He doesn’t show it by himself, though. Antetokounmpo and Embiid have done more than they have done. Dallas’ Luka Doncic (fifth in the MVP vote) is a EuroLeague winner and appears to have won one NBA MVP award before finishing.

It is a new group of greats from around the world, following in the footsteps of Nowitzki, Hakeem Olajuwon, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili, Pau and Marc Gasol, Yao Ming and others. The debate will be over which international player – here or always – is the best, but Antetokounmpo (two MVPs and contestants) and now Jokic (two MVPs have been rounded up again) has really entered the fray. .

Canada won the tournament in 2019 when the Toronto Raptors won the NBA title. That same night, the Canadian flag was dipped in champagne. Pascal Siakam danced with the Cameroonian flag on his shoulders and team president Masai Ujiri spoke to the Nigerian scarf around his neck – and he was the only Raptors with an international brotherhood.

It is unlikely that five international players could win the lottery in preparation for the NBA next month. And no one sees Victor Wembanyama of France – a 7-foot-2 player with a watchful eye – as a definite number. 1 vote on 2023 plans right now.

Newcomers will want to be like Jokic. They will want to be MVP, and it is a recent name to show their children around the world that it is possible.

“If not me, who am I?” Jokic responded by being asked if he thought he was too tall for the shot. “There’s no way I can come to the NBA and play basketball from this city and from this stable, especially. Now, I’m playing basketball in the best league in the world and playing at the highest level.”

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